Jan 25, Colombo: As Sri Lanka, anticipating a tough time at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in March and mounting a diplomatic offensive to against another resolution sponsored by the United State, the United Kingdom says it is working hard to garner support to move the US resolution against Sri Lanka.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs MP Mark Simmonds told UK Parliament during the debate on Sri Lanka on Thursday that the UK is facing an "uphill struggle" to secure the passage of the US resolution and they are working hard to get the necessary majority.
MP Simmonds asserted the UK Parliament that if Sri Lanka does not properly begin a credible domestic process to address the human rights concerns by March 2014, the UK will use its position on the UN Human Rights Council to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and call for an international investigation.
He said the UK will play an active role in building international support for that approach ahead of the March meeting.
"We face an uphill struggle to secure the passage of an appropriately robust resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, but I assure him that the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) network is already hard at work with the resolution's main sponsor, the United States, to mobilise opinion and the necessary majority, and that our campaign at the Human Rights Council will be led at ministerial level."
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has launched a diplomatic offensive to garner the support of member states of the UNHRC to counter the US-UK combined effort to pass another resolution against the country.
The government has deployed special envoys to several countries to explain the current situation in the country and the measures taken by the government to address the issues of concern and to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
The Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, who is the head of the Presidential Task Force assigned to implement the LLRC recommendations, visited Geneva last week to apprise the envoys of the UN member states on the latest developments regarding implementing the LLRC recommendations.
The UK Under-Secretary also defended the UK Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka in November last year saying that even right organizations have agreed that it was the right thing to do.
"When launching the human rights report in Westminster earlier this week, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch said that the Prime Minister was right to go to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka and commended the Government's determination to secure a tough resolution at the March UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, which included a mechanism for an international inquiry."
The human rights situation in Sri Lanka will come under scrutiny before the UNHRC at its 25th session, which is to be held from 3 to 28 March 2014. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay will present a comprehensive report on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 22/1 on Sri Lanka of March 2013 as well as a report on her fact-finding visit to the island in August 2013.